The Black misleadership class are still up to their elbows in performative nonsense and class collaboration politics. They still act against the interests of Black people.
“We know who these people are, based on their political behaviors. Our job, as conscious “political” people, is to expose their treachery -- so that the Black masses will reject their ‘misleadership.’ ”
Everyone knows what it means to mislead. The simplicity of the word gives it a lot of power. Black elected officials are beholden to the Democratic Party and their corporate, neo-liberal and imperialist interests. Working in concert with them is by definition working against the interests of Black people.
Of course the misleaders can’t be obvious about their subterfuge. They have to at least go through the motions of opposing the Republican Party, the white people’s party, and anyone who is seen as a prominent representative of that group. Performance is the order of the day, while any concrete actions made on behalf of Black people are few and far between.
Such is the case with Congressional Black Caucus member Jamaal Bowman, who represents New York’s 16th District. There is nothing strange about Bowman raising money for democratic candidates through the Act Blue Political Action Committee but he is doing so by making lame jokes at Donald Trump’s expense and turning republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene into his personal foil.
MTG, as she is known, is a staunch conservative and one who plays fast and loose with reality. She is famous or rather infamous for speculating that California wildfires in 2018 were caused by a conspiracy involving former governor Jerry Brown, a public utility, and the Rothschild family’s bank. She recently opined, “There is no climate crisis, it’s a fabricated scam that lines the pockets of politicians and their business partners with the zero carbon hoax and carbon credit scams.” The congresswoman hates her colleague Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and once stood outside of her office door calling her “crazy eyes” and on other occasions called her a “little communist” and a “radical socialist” when in fact she is just another phony progressive. We would be very fortunate indeed to have real socialists among our elected officials.
Taylor-Greene is one of those conservatives who liberals love to amplify when a democrat is in the white house. Every outrage or social ill is blamed on high profile right wingers in order to deflect attention from Democratic Party lies and accommodations with their alleged opposition. Bowman has taken this tactic to high art or maybe farce when he gets into public spats with republicans, including a verbal altercation with republican congressman Thomas Massie about gun control.
When Trump was arraigned during his first indictment in New York City, Taylor-Greene showed up outside of the courthouse to give him moral support. MTG as she is known, is the conservative bogeywoman du jour and Bowman, who was also present, didn’t disappoint. “Marjorie Taylor-Greene should take her ass back to Washington,” he yelled and then added, “Do something about gun violence. Do something about affordable housing. Do something about childhood poverty.” The statement was odd because when Joe Biden first came to office we were told that he would cut child poverty in half. Biden never discusses the plight of the homeless and he may talk about gun violence but has never taken any action on that issue. Apparently it is now up to MTG to do what Biden couldn’t manage when the Democratic Party controlled both houses of congress.
Bowman’s routine is rather cringe worthy at times, such as a video showing him laughing at Donald Trump’s mugshot. The congressman invariably adds, “Lets register enough Gen-Z voters to defeat MAGA for good.” Taylor-Greene’s foolish statements are grist for Bowman’s mill but he can skirt the truth as well as his nemesis does.
MTG also got political mileage out of the Trump mugshot. “This is the photo that will win the 2024 presidential election. The American people will not stand for communism in America.” MTG has a habit of labeling anything she dislikes as communism. But Bowman was equally dishonest.
“The downfall of the leader of an insurrection is not communism. But you know what is practically the text book definition of communism? Taking $183,504 in PPP loans from the government during a global pandemic that you said was a hoax, and then never paying it back.” Taylor-Greene receiving loan forgiveness isn’t theft and even if it were, wouldn’t be a definition of communism. The democrats are still red baiters in the 21st century.
While MTG and the conservative Freedom Caucus forced 15 rounds of voting before Kevin McCarthy became Speaker of the House, Bowman and the Squad did no such thing when they voted for their former leader, Nancy Pelosi in 2021. The #ForcetheVote campaign demanded that House members withhold votes for Pelosi unless she agreed to support Medicare for All legislation. At the end of day Bowman, Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the so-called progressives all voted for Pelosi, the corporate bag lady par excellence.
During his Trump arraignment street theater routine Bowman said, “America needs a reckoning, and I think Trump is essential to that reckoning.” The nation does need a reckoning about many things, but Trump going to jail won’t house people living on the streets, raise anyone’s wages, or end US imperialist acts around the world. Trump going to jail won’t give railroad workers the right to strike, which Bowman and other “progressives” destroyed.
In 2022 railroad worker unions voted to strike against a contract which didn’t include sick days. The Democratic Party sprang into action and sided with the railroad companies with a bill that forbade them to strike. Bowman played along by sponsoring an amendment to add sick days, but the performance was no better than the MTG shouting matches. The bill had no chance to pass in the Senate and was purely an effort to give cover to Biden and his fauxgressive partners in crime.
But misleading is a political art form. Bowman can claim that Taylor-Greene put a “target on his back” when she called him “threatening.” “Unfortunately, this country has a history of characterizing Black men who are outspoken, who stand their ground and who push back as being threatening or intimidating.” That statement is correct but it is cynicism in the extreme for the Congressman to gin up arguments with right wingers he has elevated in importance so that their fights can give an appearance of politically useful activity. Black men have targets on their backs but the systemic changes needed to protect them are never proposed by anyone in congress, including Bowman.
No one should be impressed with him or any other member of the Congressional Black Caucus unless or until they defy their own party on behalf of Black people. Shouting matches and phony legislation are misleadership and Bowman is the leader of the fakery. It is time to put a stop to giving people like him cover and coverage.
Margaret Kimberley is the author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents. You can support her work on Patreonand also find it on the Twitterand Telegramplatforms. She can be reached via email at margaret.kimberley(at)blackagendareport.com.